My letter to Reading FC Chief Executive Nigel Howe Regarding crowd participation during games
This really bugged me. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not the kind of guy who sings for 90 minutes. But, i do like a bit of banter and to get involved where appropriate regardless of where i am. This was a mass silence. I just felt as a promoted team they need as much help as they can get. Bit of a sing along, not sure is it was snobbery or just a culture at the club. Cant help, that’s all I’m saying.
Reading Football Club
Junction 11, M4
15 October 2012
Dear Mr Howe,
I recently attended Reading FC vs Tottenham Hotspur FC on 16 September 2012. Whilst not being a fan of Reading FC I love football and experiencing the grounds I am jet to visit and happily accepted a ticket from a friend to sit in with the Reading FC fans. I feel compelled to tell you what I thought of my experience at the Madjeski Stadium.
Firstly I commend the club on your handling of the Hillsborough tragedy issue. The playing of Your Never Walk Alone was a touching tribute that was observed by the entire crowd in a manner that the families of the 96 would have been proud of.
However onto the point of my letter. Upon the conclusion of this tribute the atmosphere appeared to completely dissolve. It was a particularly surreal experience. Throughout the match the home fans made very little noise. Something I found somewhat ironic was manager Brian McDermott’s comments in the programme which alluded to the atmosphere in the previous home game vs Stoke FC being the best in years emphasising that he hoped it would be the same vs Tottenham Hotspur FC. I sincerely hope they were not comparable.
As expected in most games the away fans made considerable and consistent noise throughout with a variety of suitable songs. Whereas the home fans appeared to be limited to be a small section of fans directly adjacent to the away fans that were prepared to sing and even then this was only intermittently. At nil all the atmosphere was non-existent but by the time the first goal was conceded it was game over in the eyes of the home fans. I won’t repeat what I saw over the shoulder of the guy in the row in front of me text a pal.
There does seem to be a growing culture in football where chanting is not participated by the masses, surely as a club this must be disappointing. I wonder what the players think. As a fan you have to back the team even when the big teams turn up. I noticed a few failed attempts to start songs around where I was sitting but they were not receptive in the main and people were vocally discouraging. I spoke to some Reading FC fans regarding this issue and they confirmed that it is a real issue with the stadium, which they wish they could improve upon.
Everyone wants to play in the EPL. The players have clearly busted a gut to get there, the manager did perform miracles to achieve it and I’m sure the fans were overjoyed to be back in the big time but why they do not vocalise themselves sufficiently is truly surprising.
I’ll accept that this may be the case of one game in isolation and not being a regular I have no basis for comparison. However, maybe you should try some sort of initiative to get the crowd buzzing. It can only be beneficial. There are countless examples of the crowd forcing teams over the line or bringing them back from the jaws of defeat. It doesn’t need to be thuggish or abusive, but humorous and enjoyable. The ground in my opinion is definitely capable of creating a buzz that would make away fans and players think twice.
Hopefully this was a one off, but if it wasn’t consider the above.